Detection and characterization of rabies virus in Southern Brazil by PCR amplification and sequencing of the nucleoprotein gene
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Due to the medical and socio-economical importance of both human and animal rabies infection, several studies have suggested the use of molecular techniques such as RT-PCR and DNA sequencing for diagnosis and phylogenetic studies of the rabies virus. Considering the conservancy of the nucleoprotein (N) gene of the virus, we herein describe a RT-PCR assay for rabies diagnosis and characterization. A total of 75 samples obtained from a variety of animal species in the state of Santa Catarina (SC), Southern Brazil, were comparatively studied by fluorescence antibody test (FAT), mouse inoculation test (MIT), cell infection assay and RT-PCR, which revealed itself to be as sensitive as FAT and MIT and less time-consuming than MIT. Direct sequencing of the 5′ end of the N gene allowed the clustering of the SC samples with samples from the vampire bat-related or sylvatic cycle through comparative sequence analysis.
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